The Water Cooler – Hitchhiking

July 30, 2015 12:00 pm · 43 comments

The “Water Cooler” is a feature on where we ask you a question or provide a topic, and you talk about it.

The “Water Cooler” will be up Monday-Friday at noon.

Today’s question:

Would you, or have you ever hitchhiked? Also, would you, or have you ever picked up a hitchhiker?

Talk about it….

Concord Guy July 30, 2015 at 12:04 PM

Never have hitchhiked, never will. Never have picked one up.

I grew up in the Bay Area in the 60s when all of those murders were happening around Santa Cruz. My parents instilled it in us that hitchhiking was most of the most foolish and dangerous things that anyone could do.

Anon777 July 30, 2015 at 12:13 PM

No and No!

anonmtz July 30, 2015 at 12:13 PM

Yes, I hitchhiked from Berkeley to Tahoe, and back, on several occasions in the ’60’s. Never had a problem.
Years later, when my sons started to thumb rides….I was the concerned Dad.

GRX July 30, 2015 at 12:16 PM

No and hell no. Too many wackos everywhere. Ever hear of Keith Jesperson, the “happy face killer”?

Patty July 30, 2015 at 12:18 PM

When I was in 9th grade in the Midwest, my friend was hitchhiking and he was beaten and molested. It was awful. He turned out ok, though, as far as I know.

Like a fool, I and my other girlfriends often hitchhiked, but always in pairs or more. Never alone.

And now, never again.

Jojo Potato July 30, 2015 at 12:22 PM

Well gee. Living in Del Mar, I hitched to school (UCSD) for a couple years with no problems at all. Met some nice, interesting people too. It was so easy, just get out on the highway and stick out a thumb, picked up in a couple minutes. To get home, I would meet up with people from down the hill and go with them. Too bad these days the world has become such a horrible place. BTW this was in the early 70’s without any cell phones.

Mark July 30, 2015 at 12:25 PM

In the 1970’s I hitchhiked locally (Portola Valley) to and from school a lot. We lived in a rural hilly area and if I missed the school bus it was a 5-mile walk. I would not allow my children to do it now.

anonanonagain July 30, 2015 at 12:28 PM

Never have hitchhiked. I have picked up someone, but it was only someone that I knew.

thx4youropinion July 30, 2015 at 12:30 PM

I haven’t ever hitchhiked (and wouldn’t unless the situation was emergency).

About 20 yrs ago I did pick up people walking — only because it was a young mother/father with little kids, leaving an inoperative car and starting their trek along Reliez Valley Rd. They weren’t hitchhiking; but it was pretty obvious they had no idea that the closest pay phone was about five miles away.

I took them to their home somewhere in downtown Martinez. Unappreciative little group.

Today? No way.

Thoughtful 1 July 30, 2015 at 12:34 PM

Oh gosh ! Way back when my boyfriend was teaching me how to drive, we drove out Tassajara Rd. to Pleasanton. On the way back in an isolated area, we passed a guy hitchhiking. I, ever trusting and gullible, wanted to stop and give him a ride, but my boyfriend actually raised his voice at me & warned me to be more aware of possibly dangerous circumstances. I wasn’t happy and told him he was being mean, that the poor guy probably needed help. Boyfriend refused, and I didn’t mention it any more. Later that day we heard about an escapee from Santa Rita Prison who was last seen on that road. I have never wanted to pick up a hitchhiker again !!

Robert Christensen July 30, 2015 at 12:38 PM

I used to work with a guy named Bill whose wife and daughter picked up a hitchhiker, they were never seen alive again. Don’t do it. You might as well play Russian roulette.

Going that way... July 30, 2015 at 12:41 PM

Ass, gas, or grass, no one rides for free…

Buddy July 30, 2015 at 12:44 PM

Yes, car broke down in Yosemite in 1977. We were picked up by a bus load of hippies. Not sure they ever bathed but we were thankful for the ride!

Silva July 30, 2015 at 12:47 PM

I hitched in the ’60s till the day I had to exit out of a moving car on a busy road, and I knew I should’ve listened to my mother.

Nope, I never picked up a hitchhiker.

PO'd July 30, 2015 at 1:23 PM

I wouldn’t do it today, but growing up in the 60s, I hitched regularly with no incidents. Different times today.

Jim Morrison July 30, 2015 at 1:28 PM

“If You give this Man a ride, sweet family will die…killer on the road.”

Kirkwood July 30, 2015 at 1:37 PM

When I was in the military I had no qualms about hitchhiking while in uniform. Likewise I only stopped for GI’s. This was during the early 60’s and the danger factor was low, everybody knew that a G.I. had no money.

Opera at the Century July 30, 2015 at 1:44 PM

Only once, in the early 70’s. I was sick, had to get home, and for some reason thought this was the only way to get to the bus station. Really stupid. Thinking back on it now, on the two weird guys who picked me up, I’m glad I’m still alive.

Anonokat July 30, 2015 at 1:45 PM

No, I have never hitchhiked, but my mom used to pick up hitch hikers from time to time with us kids in the car when I was growing up back in the 70s. Never had anything negative happen, but I still would never do it.

The Mamba July 30, 2015 at 1:50 PM

I haven’t, but I suppose I would if I was desperate. I’ve given rides to hitch hikers before but they were cute girls or clean looking kids.

Just Me July 30, 2015 at 2:08 PM

I’ve picked up 1 hitchhiker before a few years back. Up in the mountains. His name was Josiah. I took him 20 miles to a car repair shop to get his car. He gave me $40 for the ride. It was interesting. Aside from him no one has ever compelled me to stop

Cowellian July 30, 2015 at 2:17 PM

When I was a broke college student, I hitchhiked all over the southeast. And when I was a single sailor, I had no qualms about picking up a hitchhiker. But it’s funny how quickly my outlook changed once I got married and started raising a family. But I was still willing to pick up hitchhikers on a military base until the day I got out.

Sacto Rob July 30, 2015 at 2:19 PM

I hitched home one time from Cal Poly-SLO to Concord circa 1980. The first segment was unevetful, from SLO to Prunedale. A 40-something gal picked me up in Prunedale and gave me a ride into San Jose. She let me know she was a virgin, and was the first actual animal-rights advocate I’d ever met. Really believed that animals should be entitled to all the legal protections that humans get. The guy who picked me up in San Jose was driving a nice convertible. When he heard I was from Poly, he told me how his development company had done the original survey work for the Diablo Canyon nuke plant, and that he and his crew had found lots of native American artifacts that they illegally scooped up and took home. Its interesting what total strangers will reveal to each other, knowing there’s likely no consequences from the talk.

Miriam July 30, 2015 at 2:23 PM

I would just never pick up a hitchhiker.

THE ANIMAL July 30, 2015 at 2:26 PM

Used to hitchhike all over the US in the ’60s&early ’70s. Never had a problem, but I always had a 9mm in the top of my backpack.

Baby Boomer July 30, 2015 at 2:28 PM

I’ve hitchhiked in the early 60’s, I’ve picked up hitchhikers in the 60’s and 70’s. Will I do it again? No.

Miriam July 30, 2015 at 2:29 PM

Too scary….

The Realist July 30, 2015 at 3:01 PM


dutch July 30, 2015 at 3:36 PM

Never hitchhiked but I did pick up a hitchhiker once. It was back in ’76. I just got out of the service and I saw this female hitching. She looked like a hippy, not very clean and a bit disheveled. I asked her where she was going and she said the Welfare Office downtown. It was on my way so I took her there. After talking to her for a bit I came to realize that she was a slacker always looking for handouts rather than actually trying to make a living on her own and being independent. Never picked up a hitchhiker again.

Sick Of It July 30, 2015 at 3:46 PM

I used to pick up hitchers and give beggars money until I realized my codependent enabling part it all of that thinking. I do recall one guy going to Vallejo got smart with me and I pulled over abruptly and by the time I stopped my truck he just wanted to leave in one piece.

In today’s cell phone world I see no reason to pull over unless someone is injured or being victimized.

I’d call a cab before I’d risk frail little old me at the mercy of someone like one of those Claycord freaks and their always politically correct do- gooder comments putting themselves out for me and then going weirdo.

Julio July 30, 2015 at 3:49 PM

Have not picked up anyone since the 1950’s. We had friends who hitchhiked from Rodeo to our house in Pleasant Hill all the time. They did fine but I think luck had a lot to do with it. Long ago though.

Roz July 30, 2015 at 3:52 PM

I did in 1974-1975,…when I was in high school and missed the school bus to get home,..all was good, but the last, just a weird guy, so I didn’t do it anymore,…so never again.

Atticus Thraxx July 30, 2015 at 4:39 PM

Not usually. But if I need an organ or some plama or something, it’s a cheap way to shop. Mind the druggies though.

Fix Our Roads

Sad Memories July 30, 2015 at 4:53 PM

my brother in law was killed by a hitchhiker when we were both 21. He picked him up outside his army base, while going to the jewelry store to pick up his engagement ring for his girlfriend. He was beaten to death and left on the side of the road. It was awful. At the funeral, I found out my husband was cheating on me and when I got home I filed for divorce.

Kids Think They're Immortal July 30, 2015 at 4:58 PM

Waiting for a stoplight at Syston and Monument last week and there’s a 15 or 16 year old girl standing on Monument hitchhiking.

Atticus Thraxx July 30, 2015 at 5:11 PM

“I used to work with a guy named Bill whose wife and daughter picked up a hitchhiker, they were never seen alive again.”
I’m curious, how would anyone know they picked up a hitchhiker if they were never heard from again?
I’d keep an eye on Bill if I was you.

Fix Our Roads

Sid July 30, 2015 at 5:35 PM

LOL, Atticus. I had the same thought about that story.

No, I have never hitchhiked and never intend to. The only time I ever picked up anyone was many years ago when a crying young woman flagged me down. Turned out she’d just had a fight with her boyfriend and was trying to chase after him. We only went a few blocks before she got out to continue her pursuit of him.

R July 30, 2015 at 8:02 PM

This must be the thread for silver haired commenters.

mike July 30, 2015 at 8:25 PM

in tahoe during the winter it is commonplace for people trying to get to the ski resorts to hitchhike. i lived there for the 2010 season and would pick up 3-4 people on my way to work at northstar every morning.

CONCORDSINCE1955 July 30, 2015 at 8:26 PM

yes, when somebody was stranded.. I’ve always been armed though..

RN July 31, 2015 at 3:26 AM

My uncle drove out from Ohio one summer in the 70’s. Picked up a young couple along the way and let them keep his car while he was staying with us. He told them when he needed it back and they returned it! Different times.

Man in Brown July 31, 2015 at 10:54 AM

I used to hitch-hike all the time in the late ’70s. From Alamo to “town,” which was Walnut Creek. Once on a driving trip, I hitch-hiked from Vermont, where my VW Bus broke down, to my friends house in Maine. I used to pick up high-hikers all the time too. Haven’t done either since the early ’80s, and I would never want my children to.

Mimi (original) July 31, 2015 at 12:26 PM

Hitch-hiking is just too risky!! I wanted to hitch-hike back in the early ’70’s but thank goodness my dad was able to point out to me the many things that can go wrong. Add in horror movies of wayward hitch-hikers who are serial killers along with crazy people who pick up hitch-hikers and I’m fine with keeping my doors locked and the windows rolled up and cruising by without a second glance!

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